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Irish Terriers

(34 Posts)
MyKingdomForAName Fri 07-Feb-20 11:05:32

We're considering getting a dog in the future. Me and my DS6 can't seem to agree on the breed... He's decided he definitely wants an Irish Terrier after we read that they like children, are playful, love digging (he does too!). After doing some more reading, it seems they can sometimes be aggressive towards other dogs, so I'm now wondering whether they're a good dog for us to have as we live on the edge of a city so lots of dogs about at the parks/country walks that we can easily get to. Also, it seems they're quite difficult to find in the first place, so we could be waiting a long time for one? Can anyone share any Irish Terrier experiences?

Any thoughts on other breeds? I like whippets but my son's vetoes those. I was thinking Lab, but am worried about the various health concerns. I also like Beagles, but worried about the barking. I worry that I'm over thinking it all because there will be no perfect dog that ticks every box, will there?!

We could manage an hour's walk minimum on a weekday, more at the weekends. My son needs exercising just like a dog does, so daily trips to the park are do-able. But my son's pretty high energy himself, so I think high-energy dogs may be a bit too much inside the house...

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JKScot4 Fri 07-Feb-20 11:10:03

Tbf I wouldn’t be letting a 6 yr old decide what dog to get, “my son vetoed” christ on a bike he’s 6!!! I work in rescue and we home assess potential homes, most importantly what can you give a dog? how can you enrich its life? Not a 6 yr old opinion on what he likes, you are looking at this the wrong way. Do you work? Will you be using a walker? Care for holiday time? Can you afford insurance/vet care?
If you are serious, research well and YOU make the decision.

Whynosnowyet Fri 07-Feb-20 11:11:55

Lurcher - bit bigger than a whippet.
Very good family pet ime

MyKingdomForAName Fri 07-Feb-20 11:26:14

JKScot4, it's going to be his dog too, so I think it's perfectly acceptable for him to have an opinion on it all. His friend has a whippet so he's been around one a fair bit, and doesn't fancy one. Fair enough. I don't fancy a cavapoo...we're all allowed an opinion... And yes, all other points have been thought about, thanks. This post is just about breed.

Thanks whynosnowyet, will look into Lurchers a bit more.

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frostedviolets Fri 07-Feb-20 12:11:53

I think if your son is high energy and you plan on lots of country walks i see no reason why a high energy dog wouldn't be a good fit, unless you are assuming it'll be wild in the house aswell.

I have an active working breed and she is very calm indoors, I know lots of people with working bred dogs who are also chilled in the house but lively outside.

I'd be looking at maybe working bred labradors and cockers.
Tend to be healthier and in my experience nicer, more stable and balanced temperaments than the show/pet bred ones

Boots20 Fri 07-Feb-20 12:32:15

My dad has an irish terrier and he IS dog aggressive, its a trait of the irish terrier, he is fine with other bitch dogs but has serious Male dog aggression. He also barks ALOT and chews alot too. That being said he is very good with kids temperament wise but he jumps alot and has knocked my five year old off his feet a few times. I love him but wouldnt have one of my own.

Lurchers are high energy and need lots of walks and cant be let off lead (hound dogs have a high prey drive) but wonderful temperaments, sameneith whippets, although they have very thin skin and are quiet delicate so young children may unintentionally injure one if rough housing.

If you go for a working dog (collie etc) just make sure you have plenty of energy and can dedicate alot of time to keeping them busy.

I'm not sure what type of dog I would suggest as it all depends on your lifestyle I guess, we have a 14 year old shitzhu cross but she is more like a child than a dog grin

Stellaris22 Fri 07-Feb-20 13:00:58

With the right training hounds can be off lead, you just have to be careful about where you let them off lead. I have a type of hound known for having zero recall, but I was adamant she would be able to be off lead so we trained for it as soon as we got her.

Agree with Irish Terriers being dog aggressive, the one we know can be and I'm always wary of it.

MyKingdomForAName Fri 07-Feb-20 13:22:08

Thanks frostedviolets. I guess I was thinking that my DS's high-energy in the house might over-excite a high-energy breed? So if my son was charging about, the dog would follow, whether inside the house or not? Maybe I'll be able to train the dog better than I've trained my son. grin

Boots & Stellaris, you've (sadly) confirmed my concerns re Irish Terriers. I do like hounds and will work on convincing DS! If I were on my own, I'd have a retired racing greyhound, no doubt.

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Whynosnowyet Fri 07-Feb-20 13:30:19

My Lurchers are great off lead. And 1 was a working ddog!!

Stellaris22 Fri 07-Feb-20 13:31:08

We got a basset after lots of research and they are absolutely great with young children. However you said you weren't keen on barking and they can be very loud, so probably not ideal for yourself. Ours rarely barks at home but I think that's definitely not normal for the breed, we're just lucky!

frostedviolets Fri 07-Feb-20 13:38:21

If you go for a working dog (collie etc) just make sure you have plenty of energy and can dedicate alot of time to keeping them busy

Mine is a working bred collie, I probably wouldn't recommend for an average/first time owner because of the herding instinct which can be problematic to live with in so many different ways but this idea of them needing huge amounts of exercise and training to be nice pets I take issue with.

They are quick to get overwhelmed and overstimulated.

I have tried the agility/lots of training/heavy exercise and it makes a mighty unpleasant dog - whiny and hyper.

You cannot tire them out, they can work all day and over exercising and training can get them agitated.

Nice calm walks ranging from 30 minutes to a few hours most days a week, the occasional all day walk in the summer, with very little/very occasional highly exciting games like fetch and my collie is very happy.

She will literally sleep all day in the house.

Me and DH used to live in a very rural area and we saw so many border Collies with elderly owners, I wouldn't have thought they would be giving them the huge amounts of exercise and training I keep hearing people say they need.

I know borders locally here too, at least two working lines like my girl, they aren't massively exercised and trained either.

It's a myth.

MyKingdomForAName Fri 07-Feb-20 13:47:19

Love that photo Why! And good to know lurchers can be ok off lead.

Bassets look fab Stellaris. But yeah, the barking is really about not annoying the neighbours...we'd be ok on one side and out front, but we're on a corner and only a narrow side road separates us from a row of about 15 terraces...that's a lot of potential neighbours to annoy! I know there's no guarantees, but probably wise to avoid breeds that are known for their loudness.

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frostedviolets Fri 07-Feb-20 13:52:36

I was thinking that my DS's high-energy in the house might over-excite a high-energy breed? So if my son was charging about, the dog would follow, whether inside the house or not? Maybe I'll be able to train the dog better than I've trained my son

I think most young dogs of any breed, if not trained otherwise will get excited and try to join in, in the house, I think it's wise to train a 'settle' command with the aid of treats, Kongs etc and not allow too much overexcitment and bombing around from the dog because that can lead to (non aggressive but still painful) nips and tugs at clothing.

Outside, I wouldn't have thought it an issue, I suspect the dog would be more interested in chasing a ball or sniffing or running about generally.

My dog as an adult, in the house sleeps most of the time.
If the kids are playing she tends to take herself to bed upstairs.

Outside she will run for miles, there is no tiring her.

She is a very easy dog overall, I have three children, she is really excellent with kids, very gentle and tolerant and lovely.

But I wouldn't recommend her breed for an average first time owner as she does have a strong herding instinct, it was over a year before I could walk her near busy roads as she would try and herd the cars.
High prey drive.
Some dogs take offence to her too, she has been on the receiving end of much aggression, sometimes when she isn't even aware of the other dogs presence, she is wary of other dogs as a result and can be reactive.

Whynosnowyet Fri 07-Feb-20 13:55:12

We also have 2 dcats. Although older one jumped a garden wall on- lead trying to get one ! But our dcats aren't hitting the prey drive button....

Phillipa12 Fri 07-Feb-20 13:55:34

I grew up with Irishes, ours were always very protective of us as children, but they were aggressive towards other dogs. My parents went on to have Welsh Terriers, they are a little smaller, and were much better around other dogs (any dog can be aggressive though) and also fab with children. Have also heard good things about Border Terriers too.

jojojoeyjojo Fri 07-Feb-20 13:55:39

I have a rescue lurcher. He has a wonderful temperant and is great with children and all dogs.. Big and small. He has zero prey drive (I have a cat) and is quite lazy.. Happy with two 30 - 40 minute walks a day....i let him off lead. No shedding and smooth coated and he never barks. They really do make wonderful, loving, loyal pets.. Theres lots in rescue. I cant recommend them highly enough.

myplateisfullenoughthanks Fri 07-Feb-20 14:01:06

Working Cocker Spaniel - we may have been very lucky but ours at 12 has been a delight the whole time. Never aggression of any sort to anyone or anything! Bit of a thief but who doesn't love a worn sock or a used tea towel!
He has been around the whole of my daughters life and wants nothing more than love (and a leftover).
Mid sized too. Would recommend everytime

TeacupRex Fri 07-Feb-20 14:04:20

I can empathise with your son - when I was younger I was dead set on having a Corgi and no other breed would do! In hindsight it wouldn't have been a good choice for our family - they're very heavy shedders, noisy, have a tendency to nip (herding dog instinct!) and they're quite a rare breed to find. We ended up going with a show-type English cocker spaniel and I am now completely in love with the breed. Maybe he will end up loving the dog because it's his dog, regardless of the breed?

I've never actually seen any Irish Terriers where I live, so I imagine the breed is quite rare.. and reading up on them, it seems like they're quite challenging to own.. Tendency for dog aggression, will chase/kill small animals if given the chance, shouldn't be trusted off lead, escape artists and stubborn. There seems to be mixed comments on whether Irish Terriers are good with children, some sources say they are, others saying they do not recommend this breed with young children as they can be quick to snap and won't tolerate any nonsense.

Maybe it would be worthwhile to go to an event like Discover Dogs and see if he (and you!) like any of the dogs there? Have a look on - they have breed reviews which tells you the honest positives and negatives of a range of breeds.

MyKingdomForAName Fri 07-Feb-20 14:12:29

That's really interesting insight frostedviolets, thanks for that. do you think they'd cope with chickens? I've got three bantams, but they're in a closed run so a dog couldn't get to them and I'm (maybe naively?) thinking that if a puppy grew up with them, he'd not be so interested? Or am I likely to have a a dog just stood barking at them whenever he goes into the garden?!

Ah that's good to know Phillipa re the Irishes. I think they're off my shortlist, sadly.

Good to hear jojo...I'm beginning to think Lurchers are definitely for me...just got to convince my son they're for him too! Are they playful? Up for a game of fetch or catch in the park? I think that might be the swaying factor as far as DS is concerned.

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KipperBang Fri 07-Feb-20 14:17:20

I would like to recommend a cairn terrier. Yes they've got all the terrier traits but they're fun, friendly, energetic and would be an excellent fit with your son I think - a really pal for him

I don't have one but I dog sit for one a lot and have done for years. He's 15 now and still bombs about. He's also feisty stubborn and hilarious but for a hardy and personable dog, they get my vote

MyKingdomForAName Fri 07-Feb-20 14:21:17

Ah, two posters in quick succession recommending cockers. smile I was actually bitten by a neighbour's cocker when I was about 9 years old. Not that I hold it against the whole breed, I think I've not really considered them because of their smaller size really. I like springer spaniels, but thought they might be a bit too high energy?

Yes, we plan on going to Discover Dogs at Crufts next month. I think it will help!

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MyKingdomForAName Fri 07-Feb-20 14:22:18

Thanks Kipper, will take a look.

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GrumpyMiddleAgedWoman Fri 07-Feb-20 14:29:24

Lurchers are variable in size, coat and temperament but they can be great dogs - I have come across some lovely ones. They can have huge prey drive, though, so as a first time dog-owner it might be as well to not get one rescued from a coursing bust, or even one that has been worked at all. Train recall from the off.

Some working-line springer spaniels are fairly chilled and make wonderful pets, especially if you're prepared to put in some time with training and work with their instincts so that you understand how to control them - the prey drive, for example. IME cockers are a bit more manic but also very very jolly.

A friend of mine has an Irish terrier and he's a very nice dog, not particularly drivey (zero drive compared my two, who are working-line gundogs), pleasant with people, will join in with a ruck if one seems imminent but very rarely starts anything. I'd happily look after him for a week or two as he's pretty low stress. Maybe he's an aberration....

Chickens: the vast majority of puppies can be taught to leave chickens alone.

MyKingdomForAName Fri 07-Feb-20 14:42:46

Brilliant. Thanks for all that Grumpy.

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BlackAmericanoNoSugar Fri 07-Feb-20 14:43:26

I was warned by the breeder when I got my dog (Glen of Imaal terrier) that he would need to be socialised when young as they also have a tendency to be dog aggressive. So when he was a puppy I took him to puppy training and also took him to the dog park frequently and asked other dog walkers if it was ok for my dog to sniff and say hello when we were having walks on the lead. He has been fine with other dogs since, happy to sniff and say hello but also happy to be ignored by other dogs if they're not interested.

I didn't think to socialise him with cats though, and now he's convinced that they're vermin. Lucky for the cats that cross our garden they are much faster than him.

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